As high school students in California were running for their lives as a gunman opened fire on campus Thursday morning, lawmakers across the country in Washington, D.C., were debating the state of gun violence in the United States.
For Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-NY), word of the Saugus High School shooting came right in the middle of his speech on the Senate floor.
“We are complicit in these deaths if we fail to act,” Blumenthal said after Republicans voted to block a bill that would require universal background checks to purchase firearms.
In footage of Blumenthal’s speech, a staffer then hands him a note with the news of the shooting in Santa Clarita, California, which left two students, a 16-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy, dead. A 14-year-old girl, a 15-year-old girl, and another 14-year-old boy were also hit by the gun fire. The alleged 16-year-old shooter also shot himself in the head but remains in a critical condition.
After he saw the news, Blumenthal continued: “As I speak on the floor right now, there is a school shooting in Santa [Clarita], California. How can we turn the other way? How can we refuse to see that shooting in real-time? Demanding our attention? Requiring our action?”
As I was on the Senate floor speaking about the need for universal background checks—after Rs blocked a vote today—I heard this devastating news. To the victims&families, we can't take back the loss&fear you're feeling, but we'll keep fighting to end this epidemic of violence. https://t.co/i3cqgBk1Sm pic.twitter.com/6Mg7L5NtR6— Richard Blumenthal (@SenBlumenthal) November 14, 2019
“We are complicit if we fail to act,” he continued in his impassioned speech. “It is not just a political responsibility, it is a moral imperative.”
On Twitter after his speech, Blumenthal wrote, “As I was on the Senate floor speaking about the need for universal background checks—after Rs blocked a vote today—I heard this devastating news.”
“To the victims&families, we can’t take back the loss&fear you’re feeling, but we’ll keep fighting to end this epidemic of violence,” he added.
Congressional reporter Michael McAuliff pointed out on Twitter that Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) was speaking about reasons to block universal background checks at almost the exact moment gunfire was breaking out in Santa Clarita, around 8 a.m. Pacific Time.